It’s been a long time. I know this. I realize this. And I’m sorry, I’m not sorry. See, here’s the thing. When I first started Peace Corps, everything was new, crazy, hilarious, frustrating, etc. And yeah, I’ve still got those feelings…I just don’t have the time to blog about them. My Mom’s been bugging me for literally 3 months to “update my blog” and truth be told, it’s been on my list of things to do and I have wanted to. However, the only time I really have to update my blog is when I go to Kigali and every time I go to Kigali I have a list of other things to do. Those things unfortunately take precedence over updating my blog. Sorry.
But here it is, the blog of all blogs. Well, kind of. I’m going to give you a nice, brief, concise update on life and then recount the past few days because those are the ones most fresh in my brain. And, I will try, try, try to give you that picture update from Linda’s visit. But like I said, things take precedence over my blog (sorry) and loading pictures can take an especially long time. But I will try! Last time I left you, I had filled you in on 4 months. Now, it’s July. So that means I need to fill you in on May-now. Let’s see….what happened? Not sure if I can remember.
Well, definite fun part was participating in the the Kigali Peace Marathon again. I did the relay again this year, but my relay team had some issues to it ended up being me and Kay on a 4person relay team. We thought about running a half marathon each. And then we realized that it was a better idea to run our leg of the relay, then go back to the Case de Passage (Peace Corps hostel) and shower before everyone else. So we got hot showers. And it was worth every second. June was pretty laid back, not much going on besides school school school, teach teach teach, run around and look (and sometimes be) busy. Before I knew it I was writing my end of term exams…and then typing up half the school’s exams because I have “speed” on the “machine” (I can type fast on my computer). Then we had exams, I graded exams and failed half my English class, but they deserved it. And I’ll tell you why! We have studied summary writing, using your own words and that whole deal. The seemed to have got it and I was happy. Their exam asked them to summarize some readings…they copied the readings. ZERO. So yeah, that was a bit annoying but I got over it. Biology went pretty okay, had some really good exams and then had some exams where clearly they didn’t study. I can’t remember any epic answers, but I’m sure there were some.
I will admit to y’all that I did hit one of my low points. There came a day after many stressful things had been building up and then there was a trigger and I found myself wanting to beat the crap out one of my students. Naturally, that freaked me out. And I recognized that that was not good. Don’t worry, I did take care of it (Mom and Dad can attest to that) and talked to someone and now I’m doing a lot better. But I was not a happy person for about a week there and it worried me. I didn’t like seeing that person in the mirror and feeling like that. I guess I’m lucky that this was the first time, I saw it and I realized I needed to talk to someone. So things are good now, I promise but I think it’s also important for everyone to know that even I hit low points. I’m not always happy and peppy, even I get down sometimes.
Annnnd moving on!
For the past 3 days I’ve been at my COS conference. For those of you not familiar with Peace Corps, COS stands for “Close of Service” or “Continuation of Service” and it is our conference to get us ready to head back to the good ol’ USofA (or for some of us to continue(extend) our service). Me, I went into Kigali last Friday (for legitimate reasons, don’t worry). Left the village early Friday morning and avoided the mad rush of students leaving. Arrived in Kigali late morning to get everything prepped and ready for Judges teaching Saturday morning. Saturday was a pretty nice day. Taught judges in the morning then met up with one my old LCFs (Language Cross-Culture Facilitator) who now studies in America but had come back to visit Rwanda for a month! And that was lots of fun and lovely. Sunday rolls around, went off to visit Gelsey at her site because it’d been a while. We had a lovely night of just doing nothing, well we visited her headmaster, and then lazy breakfast in the morning.
Now, oy, come Monday morning…the most stressful 3hrs of my life. Gelsey and I were on a mission. This mission was to find the Indian Embassy in downtown Kigali. However, it is not easy to find. Not helped by the fact that all the information online was incorrect: addresses, phone numbers, maps, street names. So we walked around for an hour and a half, then got info from Brittany on the actual location…walked around for another hour. Still no success. Hardest place to find EVER. So we gave up. And then we tried to get down to Nyabugogo to catch our bus to Kibuye. Whoops, giant traffic jam. So naturally, in standard Rwandan fashion, we almost missed our bus. But we didn’t!
Went down to Kibuye on Monday afternoon to celebrate a fellow PCVs birthday. We called it the “end of an era” party. I’ll just let you run with that. It was a whole lot of fun, there is photographic evidence (nothing bad, just entertaining) and it was a nice relaxing time for all of us. However, Tuesday morning was a slow start. That tends to be what happens when you stay up late. But, eventually we all got up and moving and made our way over to the Centre Bethanie where our COS conference was being held.
For the past 3 days, we’ve been having our COS. That’s a bunch of sessions where we talk about what readjustment back to the states will be like, saying goodbye to our village and really just getting prepared for the next three months. And these next three months are really just all about saying goodbye, prepping people for us leaving, and preparing ourselves for leaving.
It’s weird. It’s surreal. Do I really only have like 3.5/4 months left? Where did all the time go? It’s crazy. I’m not sure I like it. But at the same time I’m excited. I really just don’t know how to feel about all of this, it’s a ton. On November 14th (actually probably 3 days earlier) I will leave the place I’ve come to call home. My village. Muremera. Tiny ass village of ridiculousness and happiness. People I’ll never see again. People I’ll try to keep in touch with, but will I actually? Will I stay in touch with all the PCVs from my intake group (Education group 2)? What about PCVs from other groups? All of a sudden I question relationships. Are they strong enough? Will I stay in touch with the people I call my close friends here? Will we fall out of touch? Has this been a joke to some? Where when it comes down to it, the relationships formed don’t really matter?
These are all things going through my head, at this exact moment. I just wrote that as a stream of consciousness because not even I sometimes know what’s going through my head. So there’s a little tidbit of how ADD and all over the place my head is at. And it all rotates around the fact that, I’m leaving. In like 4 months. I’m going back to real life. But what is real life? Was this not real? Was it all a dream? No. This was, this is real. I know I’ve been changed since coming to Rwanda. I am not the same person. I’m a lot stronger, I’ve grown up, I’ve pushed myself to my limits and beyond. But I know I’m still that person I was 2 years ago. I know one of the first things I want to do when I get back to Connecticut is to go to a spa and get pampered. I want a nice haircut, I want a massage, I want a pedicure, I want a manicure (maybe tips, I do like them!), I want to do all those vain things that make me feel good. So sue me if I want that, there’s nothing wrong with it. I want to wear my 5inch heels, I want to show my knees, I want to get back to my culture.
I realize that more some days and other days I don’t want to go back. But at this point, the readiness for returning is growing and I know I need to go home. Home. It’s a weird word. It means roughly 3 different things to me. 1) Connecticut. The place I grew up. Where my family is. Where my childhood and history is. 2) Santa Clara. My university. Where I figured out what I love. Where I met some amazing people and made some absolutely fantastic friends. 3) Muremera, Rwanda. My village. Where I was the first foreigner to really live there. Where I was accepted for all my American quirks and never really felt some of the problems other volunteers felt. But when it comes straight down to it, Connecticut is where I want to be in 5 months. I will be so happy to hug my parents, see my childhood friends and be back in the place where I am me, fully me and nothing else.
So it’s a weird dynamic. It’s a weird time in my life. And this conference brings it all to light and talks about it. And for someone who doesn’t like to talk about things until I’m good and ready, it’s been good, overwhelming, stressful, sad, fun. Really, just a roller coaster. But it’s been a good conference overall. It’s the last official time we’re all getting together. And it’s obvious to see that we’ve all grown and changed. Before, our conferences would get a little…crazy. This time, things are much more mellow, like we’re realizing that things are winding down.
No one ever said saying goodbye was easy. But I think saying goodbye to this will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do. And now I’m done being sentimental, so I’ll sign off here and say love you all, keep it real and until next time!